Over the past couple of years making lots of 18″ doll clothes we have discovered a few tools and tricks that make all the difference when sewing 18″ Doll Clothes.
#1 FUSE ‘N GATHER
Fuse ‘n Gather
This amazing product is a fusible gathering tape that lets you create gathers or ruffles effortlessly. Simply iron the pre-stitched fusible tape on the wrong side of the fabric where you would like the gathers.
Ironing the Fuse ‘n Gather Tape
Gently pull the blue threads and you get perfectly spaced gathers every time. They pull so easily that you will never want to stitch your own basting stitches again!
Gathered Princess Peplum
The best part of this product you don’t have to worry about pulling out those basting stitches when you are done. They are hidden from view on the wrong side of you project. We use this handy tape on any of our 18″ doll outfits that requires gathering. It is especially helpful on the Princess Costume!
Let’s Pretend: Princess Costumes
#2 HOLD IT PRECISION STILETTO
One of our favorite new tools is the Hold It Precision Stiletto from Joan Hawley and Clover.
Hold It Precision Stiletto
This is the most versatile stiletto that we have ever used. One end is made out of heat-resistant silicone and is perfect for pressing seams open. Especially the tiny seam on doll clothes. Just think… no more burned fingertips!
Pressing seams open with the heat-resistant stiletto.
The other end, your more traditional stiletto point, is great for guiding fabric when sewing. Perfect for holding pieces in place while keeping your fingers clear from the fast-moving needle. The innovate curved tip also makes it so that you have the greatest visibility when sewing.
Sewing with the more traditional stiletto end.
One last great advantage to this handy tool is its overall design. It fits perfectly in your hand- not to small- so no hand strain after hours of sewing. This tool never strays far from our machines- well, unless it is over at the pressing board.
#3 MINI IRONING BOARD
While our next tip is a bit more of an investment, it is definitely worth it. We have a couple different mini ironing boards that we have picked up over the years and they have proven to be very useful in making doll clothes and other small projects. Makes sense right? A mini ironing board for mini clothes! Using one of these boards does wonders when pressing collars, sleeves, etc. Just slip them over the end of the board and you get a perfect press every time.
Mighty Mini Ironing Board
Mini ironing boards have been a little tricky to find. Recently Joan Hawley worked with Clover to develop the Mighty Ironing Board as part of her Press Perfect line of tool (the same line that includes the Stiletto from #2).
While it is a bit larger (4 inches wide) than some of the other boards that we have tried, it does have the best construction and is very sturdy when you are working with it. And the best part, the cover is washable and replaceable! It is definitely one to consider.
#4 HOOK AND LOOP TAPE
Last but not least, our favorite closure for all of our doll clothes- Hook and Loop Tape! While we do use snaps of buttons every once in a while when the style of the outfit calls for something different, we use hook and loop tape for nearly all of our doll clothes.
It is the easiest for us to apply and also the easiest for children to use during dress up. A hook and loop closure makes the doll clothes so easy to put on and take off and it holds up well after hours of play time. You won’t be loosing any buttons or pulling off any snaps.
Colored Hook and Loop Tape
We even have a whole stash of colored hook and loop so that we can coordinate it with the outfit- sometimes black or white just won’t do. It also makes it less noticeable when the colors coordinate, even if they don’t match exactly. We also don’t worry about the width of the hook and loop tape that we buy- we simply trim it down to about 1/2″ or smaller depending on the outfit or garment.
We hope these tools and tips eliminate some of the frustration in your sewing. Whether it is 18″ doll clothes or another sewing/quilting projects it is so important to find those little things that make life a little easier.
Sharon and Michelle
P.S. All of these products can be found at your Local Quilt Shop or sewing supply store. We also have some of them available on our Website.